Update from Maisha Rounds: August 27, 2020

Update from Maisha Rounds: August 27, 2020
Posted on 08/27/2020
Dear FMA School Community,

Cambridge Public School District has extended the deadline for the CPS Student Enrollment Form for fall 2020 to Saturday, August 29th. Families are asked to please complete the online enrollment form at your earliest convenience using this link. If you do not complete the enrollment survey by Saturday, August 29th, your child will automatically be enrolled in remote learning. If you run into login issues, email your enrollment preference (remote / in-person) to Principal Maisha Rounds, Assistant Principal Deborah Hood-Brown, or Family Liaison Daniel Skeritt. Please include your child's first and last name as well as grade level for fall 2020.

Welcome New Staff!
FMA welcomes our new school nurse, Mackenzie Shubert. She will start on Sept 4th. It was a hands down decision when she said in her interview that love is in her foundation when caring for others. She is a very smart, highly skilled ER nurse who knows patient care and loves children. The children at FMA need that kind of a nurse, and I am so excited that we found her.

Uniforms
At FMA, we believe in dressing for success! All FMA scholars are expected to wear uniforms daily both in-person and remote since we are a mandatory uniform school. Students attending remotely are expected to wear uniform tops during live video sessions. Uniform bottoms are optional for remote students. Scholars attending in person are expected to wear full uniform and face masks daily. Class Dojo points and recognitions may be awarded throughout the year for students meeting this expectation consistently.

DHSP Summer Camp Updates
Please see the feedback received from Stephanie Mullaney, one of the co-teachers at the DHSP summer camp - kindergarten. Please share the information as needed. Thank you!
Email from Stephanie Mullaney:

Positive moments from the summer included movement activities. These seemed to keep our friends more engaged than other activities. Kids really enjoyed scavenger hunts, "Night At The Museum," "Simon Says," and "Charades." Read alouds are always a big hit too. Sometimes we had the kids find any common household appliances to get creative and make music with. Other times we asked kids what their favorite songs were and had them dance along to them. We taught students basic ASL to sign important stuff like bathroom/ food/ water so they could let us know they were leaving to take care of important business without having to interrupt anyone speaking. During community meetings we went over our "ways of being" daily to remind friends how to behave respectfully and safely. Aside from having to remind kids not to talk with food in their mouths or telling kids not to climb on top of desks and tables, safety issues did not come up often. It was also funny having kids make up sentences and stringing them together to form a story. Watching roller coaster videos became a big hit in our class as well.

Things that did not work related mostly to computer issues. Not everyone had reliable internet connection. Kids got kicked off when their computers had this issue and sometimes their screens would duplicate in our google meets. Some experienced audio issues even when their microphones were on. Sometimes kids would turn their videos off, even when we asked them to keep them on, so we couldn't monitor what they were doing. If we had to speak to a kid about something improper they were doing, they would respond by turning off their video (ha!) We also had one kid who would mute us and watch other stuff online, even though Mom had told him she wanted him participating and staying on with our class.

It would have been useful to have "break out rooms" in google meet where a teacher could take a student to a separate google meet room and talk privately with them one on one.

It was helpful to have weekly staff meetings so we could brainstorm and share ideas with other teachers regarding activities we were doing with our students.
OST/Afterschool Updates
Like CPS schools, after school and out-of-school time (OST) programs will not be offered in the same ways to start this school year. Based on many factors (safety, space availability, staffing, funding, state and city regulations, etc.), there will be a lot fewer slots available than during a typical school year. There likely will not be enough slots to enroll all requests, and families and students with the highest needs will be prioritized. OST programs are currently in the process of planning and determining whether or not they’ll be able to offer remote, in-person or hybrid programs — and if so what, when and where. More updates are expected by and during the week of 8/31.

Social Justice
Once again, I am broken-hearted by law enforcement's use of deadly force against Black Americans. The shootings of Jacob Blake and Trayford Pellerin by police are painful reminders that George Floyd wasn't the first and won't be the last. Additionally, 2 protesters were killed this week by an armed 17-year-old white civilian taking matters into his own hands. He then walked past 3 police cars armed with a deadly weapon, arms raised. Police drove past him, despite multiple bystanders telling cops he had just shot several people. This exposes the dark underbelly of systemic racism in one of America's most relied-upon institutions. Late night talk show host, Trevor Noah recently drew attention to the stark differences in treatment of blacks and whites by law enforcement on full display in Kenosha, Wisconsin this week.

These tragic events remind us that we cannot become complacent in our commitment to anti-racism. As we continue advocating for social justice to confront racial injustice and dismantle systemic inequities in American public education, we will dig even deeper this year as a school into ways we can support our students of color through culturally responsive teaching practices. Racism is the other deadly pandemic we are facing as a society. While there is no vaccine for racism, committing to anti-racist pedagogical practices and engaging in culturally responsive teaching are powerful ways we can counteract its impacts.

Sincerely,

Maisha Rounds, Proud Principal
Fletcher-Maynard Academy

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